Billings, Frederick

Billings, Frederick

(1823–90) lawyer, railroad executive; born in Royalton, Vt. A University of Vermont graduate, he went to California in the gold rush of 1849, and, opening a law office instead of prospecting, became a prominent and powerful San Francisco attorney. An early shareholder in the Northern Pacific Railroad, he raised the capital necessary to complete the road during a term as president (1879–81). He used some of his substantial fortune to build churches in Woodstock, Vt., and the eponymous Billings, Mont.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.